Monday, June 6, 2016

Summary of events in West Papua for May 2016

Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
PO Box 28, Spit Junction, NSW 2088

         Summary of events in West Papua for May – (6 June 2016)

More arrests at peaceful rallies

                                 KNPB action today (Tuesday, 05.31.2016) to provide support to ULMWP - Jubi / IST

If the month began with the mass arrests of over 1800 people in West Papua on the 2 May (covered in April update), it ended with approximately 500 people arrested in the days leading up to and on the 31 May.  According to the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta), more than 300 Papuans were arrested after the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) organized rallies on Tuesday the 31 May calling for the release political prisoners and to show support for the ULMWP to be granted full membership at the MSG. The activists were also calling on the leaders of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) who were meeting in PNG for the 8th Summit of the ACP to support the right of the people of West Papua to self-determination. The intimidation of KNPB activists started on Saturday when 50 were arrested in Sentani and Jayapura. Although they were released the mobile phones of a number of activists were confiscated.  On Monday 30 May local media (Jubi) reported three members of KNPB in Yahukimo and 21 people in Wamena were arrested for distributing leaflets about the rallies to be held on the 31 May. The arrests show yet again there is no freedom of opinion or expression allowed in West Papua. AWPA release at
On the 2 June protestors calling themselves the Defenders of the Indonesian Republic gathered at the Trikora Field in Abepura demanding the disbandment of West Papua National Committee (KNPB). The protesters also said there should be no  celebrations’allowed on "December 1 (West Papua National flag day)  and we don't want KNPB here. ” These pro Indonesian groups should be a cause of great concern as one can only remember the havoc caused by pro Indonesia militia  groups in East Timor.

Benny Wenda tours Australia
Benny Wenda’s  FWPC Australian speaking tour 'Breaking the Silence' took him to Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. Benny spoke at a large number of events, met his supporters and politicians from various parties.

From FWPC Sydney Facebook

MSG chair urges UN intervention in West Papua
The chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Manasseh Sogavare, says the regional body is pushing for an urgent intervention by the United Nations in West Papua. Mr Sogavare, who is the prime minister of Solomon Islands, has also declared his country's support for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua's bid to be a full member of the MSG. Mr Sogavare has just been in Port Vila where he met with his Vanuatu counterpart Charlot Salwai whose proposal to give the Liberation Movement full membership at the MSG is to be discussed at an upcoming MSG leaders summit in Papua New Guinea. While in Vila, the MSG chair met with visiting representatives of the Liberation Movement which has strong support in Indonesia's Papua region. Since the West Papuans were granted observer status in the MSG last year, Mr Sogavare said the situation in Indonesia's Papua region had become more tense, leaving the indigenous people on the "brink of extinction". This comes after Indonesia's leading human rights organisation said that since the new government came to power in late 2014, abuses in Papua were as rampant as they were under previous governments RNZI report at
Prime Minister Sogavare said that the granting of full membership status to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMP) in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is justifiable as Indonesia had sought membership of the regional bloc to only protect its own interest other than engage in dialogue about the serious human rights issues in West Papua. The PM”s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Jakarta where the Director General for Asia, Pacific and Africa, Desra Percaya, said Mr Sogavare's claims were not based on reality.
He also said Mr Sogavare's statements violated the basic principles of sovereignty and non-interference, as contained in the MSG Establishing Agreement. However the MSG Chair's Special Envoy on West Papua, Rex Stephen Horoi, said the chair would like to remind Jakarta that one of the key overarching principles of the group is the principle of decolonisation of Melanesia.
"This is a fundamental principle that binds the Melanesian countries and all MSG members together," he said. "In this principle, MSG stands for its defense and promotion of independence as the inalienable right of indigenous peoples of Melanesia." Mr Sogavare also sought to remind Jakatra that the United Liberation Movement for West Papua was also a part of the MSG, with observer status.
He claimed the refusal of Indonesia's government so far to discuss West Papua with him showcases Jakarta's intention of not engaging in dialogue about the serious allegations of human rights issues.
The MSG chair has reiterated his offer to the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, to discuss matters of common interest within the space provided by the MSG.
The Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit which was scheduled to take place in Port Moresby has been postponed again. Although no firm date it may now be held at the end of June

Moves to remove Indonesia from MSG
Vanuatu will seek Indonesia's removal from the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). This is despite the tactical rescheduling of the meeting for a second time.
 Charlot Salwai - Vanuatu's Prime Minister - is expected to lead the bid to remove Indonesia with the support of his Solomon Islands counterpart, Mannasseh Sogavare. The revelation comes after Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said his government was concerned about human rights abuses in West Papua. O'Neill said he had expressed PNG's concerns directly to Indonesia's President Joko Widodo. O'Neill made the comment on FM100's radio talk back show while responding to questions from the public about West Papua.
 “We are equally concerned about what is happening in West Papua,” he said.
 “We have expressed that directly to the highest authority including the President this year particularly the human rights issue and for autonomy.”
 O'Neill said he had written, as chair of the Pacific Islands Forum to President Widodo asking for a regional fact-finding team of leaders to visit West Papua to talk directly with the people themselves. “The response we received from Indonesia is they welcome such a dialogue and appreciative of our desire for West Papua have some more autonomy, whether that will be self-determination or not is something that can be worked on towards,” he said. The MSG Leaders Meeting has been postponed to a later date. (SOURCE: ISLANDS BUSINESS/PERCENTS Pina News 26/05/2016 Fiji)

Reverend Socratez Yoman visits NZ
The chairman of the Papuan Baptist Church Alliance, Reverend Socratez Yoman says abuses against West Papuans by Indonesian security forces have not abated since his last visit to New Zealand ten years ago.

                                                       Photo RNZ
According to him, transmigration and Indonesian government policy have steadily left the Papua region's indigenous people marginalised demographically, culturally and economically. Reverend Socratez told Johnny Blades that despite the new president Joko Widodo vowing to help Papuans, the Indonesian state is distrusted. “Their character they never change and also their attitude never changes. They change their clothes their heart never changes. Papuans are undermined, they ignore Papuans. This is our direct experience, our daily experience. West Papua is dominated by migrants by Indonesians. A lot of military in Papua, they are removing, a genocide of local people. This is a humanitarian problem, as long as the Indonesian government continues to commit human rights abuses this is a humanitarian problem this is a global issue, a global concern. My concern is my people, the owners of the land how come they are treated like animals”. Socratez Yoman  Full transcript & Audio at

Declaration for an Internationally Supervised Vote in West Papua - Westminster UK. May 3rd 2016
An historic step on the road to freedom for West Papua was made in London today. At a meeting of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in the Houses of Parliament, a new declaration was signed calling for an internationally supervised vote on the independence of West Papua.
Delegates came from around the world to attend this historic meeting on West Papua’s future. The meeting was briefed by parliamentarians, lawyers and academics, all of whom discussed and affirmed the West Papuan people’s fundamental right to self-determination. The declaration reads as follows:
We the undersigned Members of Parliament, being members of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua: I. Declare that continued human rights violations in West Papua are unacceptable. II. Warn that without international action the West Papuan people risk extinction. III. Reiterate the right of the people of West Papua to genuine self-determination. IV. Declare the 1969 ‘Act of Free Choice’ to be a gross violation of this principle. V. Call for an internationally supervised vote on self- determination in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514 and 1541 (XV). Palace of Westminster, London, the 3rd of May, 2016….

Jakarta turns to Britain to explain Papua situation
(RNZI 16 May) An Indonesian government delegation has travelled to Britain to talk about West Papua to local MPs and church leaders. The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Luhut Pandjaitan, led the delegation. Its visit was organised hastily following the highly-publicised International Parliamentarians for West Papua summit in London two weeks ago which resulted in a call for an internationally supervised vote on West Papuan self-determination. Following the summit and its airing of concerns over ongoing human rights abuses against West Papuans, Jakarta has been anxious to explain its side of the story about Papua. To that effect, Mr Luhut's delegation met with a member of both the House of Lords and IPWP, Lord Harries, to talk about conditions in Papua.

Its not just to the UK that Jakarta has been sending delegations to counter the growing support for West Papua. Indonesia is considering strengthen its ties with South Pacific countries by appointing a special envoy to the region with a portfolio including West Papua. Indonesia sent a delegation to Fiji and PNG to strengthen bilateral relations with the countries in the South Pacific region. Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Legal Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that Indonesia will be consistently present in the South Pacific by sending ministers to the 16 countries in the region. "To Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama and foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola I have conveyed that we will be consistently present in the region," he said during his visit to Fiji (Antara News 31 March).  This effort by Jakarta to

West Papuan leader’s barred entry ordered from the “top"
RNZI 30 May 2016
The secretary-general of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua says he was given no explanation why he was barred from entering Papua New Guinea.
Secretary general Octo Mote was travelling to Port Moresby to assist the Vanuatu and Solomon Islands governments in their representations on West Papua at the African, Carribean and Pacific summit this week.

The Secretary-General of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, Octo Mote. Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

He had also been preparing for an upcoming Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting to deliberate on the Liberation Movement's bid for full MSG membership.
Mr Mote, who has a US passport, said that the two immigration officers who disallowed his entry were respectful but gave no explanation.
"These two gentlemen were just saying this is the order from high top. So I really don't know why they stop me there. I've been in and out so many times to Papua New Guinea, and I'm possessing all the legal process which is on-arrival visa."

West Papua report given to Ban ki Moon at Humanitarian Summit
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon has been presented with the West Papua Fact Finding Mission Report titled "We Will Lose Everything" by PIANGO’s executive director, Emele Duituturaga. Duituturaga presented the report to Ban Ki Moon during day two of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. The report was received by the assistant Secretary General. Duituturaga who captured the handing over in a photograph said she was privileged to have had a brief exchange with Ban at the end of the summit. The handover comes after Duituturaga addressed the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) plenary on day one calling for United Nations intervention on human rights violations in West Papua. “PIANGO strongly advocates human-rights based approaches and we commit to upholding norms that safeguard humanity, specifically in relation to speaking out on violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” she said

John Anari spoke at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
John Anari from the West Papua Liberation Organisation (WPLO) spoke at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the UN Economic & Social Council, and asked to put West Papua on the agenda of the Trusteeship Council, an action to get it to begin its duty promote the “self government or independence” of West Papua, such as putting West Papua on the list of the Decolonisation Committee.
UN Charter article 85 part 2: 
"The Trusteeship Council, operating under the authority of the General Assembly shall assist the General Assembly in carrying out these functions."
Please consider contacting the Economic & Social Council or its members asking them to respect the rule of law by putting the issue of West Papua, General Assembly resolution 1752, on the agenda of the Trusteeship Council……………..

West Papuan 'Morning Star' flag artists pressured to paint over mural in Darwin CBD
The artists who painted a mural depicting the West Papuan "Morning Star" flag on a wall in Darwin's CBD have been asked by the property owners to paint over it as a "matter of urgency" following the application of "external pressures".

PHOTO: The mural depicting the West Papuan 'Morning Star' flag was painted in June 2015. (ABC News: Stephanie Zillman)

In an email obtained by the ABC, an employee for Randazzo Properties told a representative from the artist group that the owners of the wall wanted the mural to be painted over this weekend and had contacted the neighbouring property owner to allow access. "Due to some external pressures I have been asked to see the wall painted out as a matter of urgency and have started putting things in place," the Randazzo Properties employee stated in the email.
Activists from Australians for a Free West Papua told the ABC they had been told by the same Randazzo Properties employee that the "external pressure" was the Indonesian consulate in Darwin………..

One of Australia’s leading human rights organisations has spoken out in support of the retention of a mural in Darwin’s CBD that depicts the West Papuan "Morning Star" flag. The "Morning Star" flag is a defining symbol of the West Papuan independence movement, which calls for West Papuan independence from Indonesia.
Benedict Coyne President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) said, “ALHR is concerned by media reports alleging that the property owners have asked the artists to paint over the mural as a "matter of urgency" following the application of external pressures."

“The media has also reported that, while the Indonesian Consul in Darwin, Mr Andre Siregar, denies contacting the wall owner, he wrote to the Northern Territory Government in August 2015 to register his opposition to the depiction of the flag. Mr Siregar is also reported to have said that he believed there were about "two people" in Darwin who supported the West Papuan independence movement.”
Mr Coyne went on to say, “ALHR is concerned by allegations of any attempts to use external pressures to limit the rights of freedom of speech and expression in Australia. These rights are essential to a healthy and vibrant democracy.”
“It should be remembered that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to peacefully advocate for things like referendums and independence as long as that advocacy does not involve incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.” ………………

Freeport Owes Ten Trillion in Debt to Papua Government
Jubi 26 May 2016
Denpasar, Jubi – Head of Papua Energy and Mineral Resource Office Bangun Manurung said PT. Freeport Indonesia has failed to pay the water surface tax amouting to about Rp 10 trillion.
He said Freeport should have paid for the use of water surface since the signing of its second contract of work in 1991 to present. “What we asked is clear; it is very confirmed and clear. We are optimistic that the Tax Court would agree with us and could see this clearly. In my opinion the government’s credibility is tested,” he said after attending the meeting with the Special Committee on Freeport Issue of Papua Legislative Council that held in Nusa Dua-Kuta, Bali on last week. According to him, Freeport’s annual obligation to the local government is Rp 400 billion. If this amount was counted since 1991, the total amount would reach more than Rp 10 trillion,
“It should be Rp 10 trillion, but based on the tax legislation, it’s only counted for the last five years. So, it would approximately Rp 2.7 trillion. I am not sure whether our claim since 1991 would be counted or not. Well, about the legal aspect we don’t know. But we prepared all technical materials,” he said on Wednesday (25/5/2016). Though he had no idea about why Freeport filed a legal notice against Papua Provincial Government related to tax payment, he thought it is an obligation for Freeport to pay the water surface tax.
“If not, we have not considered yet for further solution. Regarding to the committee’s advise to Papua Provincial Government to present an expert, it’s a good idea. We will see the progress in the court. It’s very good to strengthen the bargain position of Papua Provincial Government whether it is related to the contract of work or regional regulation,” he said.
Meanwhile the First Deputy Chairman of Papua Legislative Council Edoardus Kaize said Freeport’s legal notice against Papua Provincial Government was not make sense, because it was filed when Papua Provincial Government demanded its rights. “Freeport should have a good ethics. It’s ridiculous if it filed a charge against the government. This company gets a permit from the government to conduct the mining operation in the territory of the Republic of Indonesia, in particular Papua. Because of it did not run its obligation properly or did not want to pay its debts, then filed the legal notice against the government,” said Kaize.
According to him, instead of filing a charge, Freeport should fulfill its obligation by paying its debts of more than Rp 2.7 trillion to Papua Provincial Government.
“What it should pay is not for debts from decades. It is only for certain period. Freeport should not make it a problem to file a charge against the government,” he said. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)

Indonesian troop build-up in West Papua troubles PNG MPs
By PMC Editor -  June 2, 2016 By Freddy Mou in Port Moresby
More than 45,000 Indonesian soldiers have been moved to Wamena in the Highlands of West Papua region of Indonesia, which shares a common border with Papua New Guinea, the PNG Parliament has been told. The movement of soldiers have raised concerns from PNG parliamentarians about why soldiers have been moved there. Bro Governor Garry Juffa raised this in Parliament yesterday, asking the Defence Minister Fabian Pok whether he was aware of the movement. “The continuous build-up of military presence in that province should concern Papua New Guinea. Yet we don’t seem to have any knowledge of what is going on there,” says Juffa. However, Pok in response told Parliament that Indonesia had been a good friend of PNG and those movements must not be seen as a threat to PNG people. He said PNG must be considered a lucky country in a sense that PNG shared common borders with two of the “most powerful countries”, Indonesia and Australia. Pok said he had had meetings frequently with defence ministers from both countries and had never seen them as enemies but as friends. He said it was Indonesia’s “internal problems” that moved the military personnel closer to the border. “We really don’t have issues with Indonesia regarding security at the border.” Freddy Mou is news editor of Loop PNG.

Opinion pieces/reports/media releases etc.

AWPA’s response to opinion piece by spokesperson from Indonesian embassy Canberra. Re: Protecting human rights in Papua

Can Jokowi assuage Papuan woes?

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Indonesian crackdown on West Papuan independence protest

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